Second – Get Organized
Here’s what you need for this step – paper, pen, phone, e-mail, WOM (word of mouth). Figure out who you want to spend Thanksgiving with. Give them a call. If they sound genuinely disappointed because they have visitors from out-of-town, tell them to bring their visitors – Thanksgiving is a great holiday for flexibility. (We usually have more than one table going, one for the kids, too, or several mixed up)
Our book says that we are to entertain strangers, that sometimes when we welcome strangers, we welcome angels without knowing it. Sometimes a stranger adds the most amazing memory.Our first married Thankgiving, we had a soldier join us who would soon be leaving the military. We still remember his delight and amazement at being included. We’ve never fogotten him – he added so much to that day.
When someone asks what they can bring – have some ideas ready! It’s usually safe to ask someone to bring a dessert – or drinks – or dinner rolls. If they have something else in mind, unless it is totally outlandish, say “yes” and just roll with it. It’s part of the fun.
Outline what you want to serve – finger foods before dinner, dinner – courses if you are including soup, dessert and coffee (in the same room? move to another room?)
Make a grocery list. Do the major shopping now, so you have everything you need. Go with what is available – for example, last night in the fish market, I saw the most amazing, huge shrimp, and the man told me they are from Kuwait. Believe me, we will have shrimp cocktail on our menu this year!
Figure out how you want the table(s) and check your linens to be sure what you need is clean and ironed. Make sure the silver is polished, the crystal washed and sparkling. Do this now! You don’t want to have to worry about this close to Thanksgiving. Give yourself the gift of time, by doing the little things in advance that can throw you off course if you let it go to the last minute. We want you to be thankful on Thanksgiving, happy and relaxed and delighted to see your friends – and that takes some preparation and work ahead of time.
(My preference is to set up a buffet table – that way people can eat what they want and pass on what they don’t want, without being conspicuous. You know, like you may adore creamed onions, and the kids will hate them! It’s OK. They’re kids. It’s Thanksgiving.)
Take another deep breath – honestly, this is going to be fun.
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